60 | Summer Vacation

( great poster by DOWLING| DUNCAN )

One look outside the window at the foggy San Francisco skyline, and you know... Summer is here. The city is notorious for its June gloom and gray Julys, so what better way to hold out for the September sun than by spending the weekend exploring someplace else?

Good thing, because L&A has been in a travel mood with plans for impending summer trips, and a range of custom designed maps.

| ELKHART LAKE . designed 06. 2011 |

| DOWNTOWN LA . designed 06.2011 |


Where will you find yourself this summer?

My plans span across the country...

If you have any additions to the itinerary, I always appreciate recommendations for good food, good design, and delicious paper.

Of course, my heart will always be in San Francisco, and I'll be sure to share the sights of my summer travels on weekends spent back in the fog.

For now, here are some L&A travel tips:


If you're like me, travel makes you hungry, and you don't want to ruin your explore-a-new-city-appetite with a Cinnabon at the airport.

And, if you're like me and opt for the flight deal (which will take you to airports in the middle of nowhere where Cinnabon isn't even an option), you must pack snacks.

Snack Hint #1:  Pre-trip Tupperware

The night before your trip, cut up firm tofu into 1/4" pieces and pan fry them in coconut oil  and ponzu sauce. At the same time, cook some quinoa. Let cool and store in the fridge. In the morning, combine the quinoa, tofu, and the leafy green of your choice (I chose arugula), and slice up a lime. When you're ready to eat, squeeze the lime across the contents of your tupperware. (HINT: Use disposable tupperware (like a leftover plastic container from Whole Foods, so you can throw it away at the airport).

Snack Hint #2: Cereal

I love cereal, but I hate dry cereal. To solve this at the airport, I bring a bag of dry cereal, and hit up the closest starbucks for a cup of soymilk. Then, as I wait for my flight, I can enjoy my perfectly slightly soggy, slightly crunchy cereal. (And make all the other passengers jealous).


I find the best way to spend travel time is by doing that craft you've been meaning to do (but never get to). Bag of tangled necklaces? Take it on your next flight for landing and take off when you can't have any electronics on. My favorite crafts (are still) the Klutz Craft Kits.

(yes, I do still own this book)

Bonus for driving trips! You can bring scissors.

That's all for now.


57 | SHOW & (DON'T) TELL

| WORKS IN PROGRESS . 04.2011 |

Relative blog silence is an indication that the L&A studio has been busy, busy, busy. As much as I'd love to share works in progress, or finished products with you all, I'm learning that sometimes there is a level of design discretion that I have to exercise. (Believe me, it's been hard to not post an entry about the newest letterpress creations or lined envelopes!)

So until that wedding has happened, or that company has taken off, I'll give you a sneak peak into the design work of the past month (DON'T TELL)... and satisfy your hunger for L&A knowledge with a few things I can SHOW as well!


| change of address cards . bridal shower invitations . wedding invitation reply envelopes |


| potential new home page for website www.lotusandash.com |


bay area must do: weekend trip to carmel

stay: at the colonial terrace inn (complete with freshly baked cookies upon arrival!)

eat: at bicyclette ... and do not leave without a bite of the butternut squash pizza.

do: hike point lobos by afternoon, bike 17 mile drive by sunset.


bay area must do: OFF THE GRID

do: spend a friday evening at the off-the-grid fort mason food truck night. (and don't forget to try some southeast asian delicacies! from azalinas! she's from penang!... like my mom!)


anywhere-area must do: reduce some balsamic!

Recently, I wanted to get some of that delicious, syrupy balsamic for my roommate's birthday to accompany her favorite sauvignon blanc. Problem: I had a jug full of balsamic vinegar (and not the delicious thick stuff), and did not have time to walk to a grocer to buy some. So, I made it myself. It's still chilling in the fridge, and is ready to use whenever the occasions strikes -- on eggs, toasted bread, or a hot bowl of quinoa. YUM!


  • 1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar


Boil the balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

I got the recipe for my trusted Italian cuisine go-to... Giada De Laurentiis!

Hopefully, I've been able to whet your appetite for delicious food, travel, and most importantly, paper. Stay tuned for more sneak peaks into the goings-ons of the L&A studio.

53 | Goodbye TwoThousand&Ten, Hello TwentyEleven!

Happy Birthday Blog! Since New Year's 2008, the L&A Blog has featured my latest paper/food/design creations, and this year will be no different.

New Year's Eve was a chance to combine all of those creations with a dinner hosted for Bay Area friends, the first of what I hope to become an annual tradition.

The food and decorations were simple - a handmade paper garland connected the kitchen to the living room, and labels made from black paper, leftover from the year, framed each of the dishes.

Post-NYE festivities, LOTUS&ASH welcomed in the new year with its annual calendar. This year's is a small matchbook, and a fun tribute to my font-loving ways. Each month is set in a different face, and the last page lists them altogether, making for a handy-dandy font reference, my version of a polly pocket.

: The 2011 L&A Calendar :

L&A wishes you a very healthy, happy, and delicious new year, filled to the brim with good design and hand-written correspondence.






(And other lessons from the L&A San Francisco front line)


  • All the pieces come disassembled
  • There are instructions, but they are confusing. Always confusing.
  • You may think you're following the instructions, but then you attach the wrong side to the wrong wooden dowel, or you add in the tumeric too soon, or your website works in safari, but not IE...

moral of the story: you will mess up. So, you better get good at covering up your mistakes.

  • BUT, going back and editing your mistakes can be long, tedious, and perhaps even impossible.
  • In the end, when it all comes together, it will LOOK great (though it might not stand/taste/SEO so great). And it is definitely worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.

Indeed, L&A has been busy furnishing | coding | cooking with an 88% success rate! (The 12% is mostly the cooking... and a slightly off center ikea shelf).


  • Ikea is great for things you don't have to build. (Plates, towels,  sheets... i.e. DRAGON, GZORMEG, and MIKANON)

BUT! when faced with things to build... recruit friends:

And offer them: Breakfast.

BECAUSE: Breakfast is the easiest meal to conquer (and offer to people as your "specialty").

Toast? Check.

Eggs? Check. Check.

Cereal? I'm a pro.

When in doubt, Avocado makes everything taste better -

And while you're waiting for your furniture to be built, and your kale to soak in avocado-y goodness, why not finish up a few of websites?





Though I love ikea, cooking, and coding...

my heart still lies in paper.

| ZEN . designed 08.2010 |


Selamat! For the second summer in a row, LOTUS&ASH has traveled around the world to colorful&delicious Malaysia. Eyes peeled, tastebuds perked, and Rebel loaded, L&A has found beautiful typography (*surat) and delicious food (*makanan) on every street.

Inspirational colors and text can be spotted on the Colonial buildings of Penang island, which is one of the top culinary destinations in the world.  Needless to say, a trip to Penang island is a must for any adventurous culture lover's bucket list.



| street market satay |

| fresh post-run coconut water |

| market bounty |

| steamed rice cake with coconut |